Contributor: Nolan Howell
Two fighters coming off long layoffs headed in two different directions headlined Premier Boxing Champions on Fox from Uniondale, New York Saturday night. Robert Guerrero, off a two-fight skid and a year-long layoff, looked to prove he had something left in the tank against the returning undefeated Omar Figueroa Jr., stepping up to 147 lbs. from him usual 140 lbs. division after nearly 18 month of recovering from what he described as fractures in both hands.
Guerrero won a fight in the phone booth in the first round, using his significant size advantage to lay into Figueroa Jr., who looked to shake off some rust after a nearly one and a half year layoff. It was a different tale in the second as Figueroa landed overhand rights inside and popped off uppercuts with both the right hand and the lead left to send Guerrero to the mat. Guerrero came back angry to pummel Figueroa into the ropes, but Figueora reversed position and again flurried to knock Guerrero down. The third knockdown came near the bell with a left hook behind the ear
Guerrero again came out swinging in the third and backed Figueroa into the corner, but he again met the phone booth uppercuts that sent him to a knee once again. Guerrero’s inability to see punches coming crouching inside as they got head-to-head would obviously be the end of him as his focus on eating an overhand right from Figueora inside left him open to the body and a left hook to the liver sent Guerrero to the mat one too many times for the referee’s liking.
Figueroa assured that this return at 147 was just to knock off the rust and he intends to return to 140 for a title run, while Guerrero continues to look like hanging it up is the best option for him despite being exciting each time out.
Marcus Browne looked to make quick work of Sean Monaghan at light heavyweight and almost did as he landed a straight left that Monaghan crouched into in the first round, along with a shot to the stomach that was on the belt that the referee deemed low. It wouldn’t last too much longer as Browne continued to work behind his jab to set things up in the second and he lowered the boom with right hook that snuck past the guard of Monaghan and a flurry that left him defenseless against the ropes and prompted the referee to step in. Browne made a claim to the title shot he wanted against Adonis Stevenson, as he looks as legitimate as any Stevenson contender of late in an impressive showcase outing.
At heavyweight, Artur Szpilka looked to come back from a KO loss to Deontay Wilder against the unheralded Adam Kownacki. Szpilka looked gunshy after the knockout, allowing Kownacki to walk him down and land volume punching throughout the four rounds the fight lasted. Szpilka’s counter punching proved ineffective as Kownacki kept him in the corners and on the ropes throughout. A flurry put Szpilka down in the middle of the fourth and an overhand right gave Kownacki the stoppage win, as well as putting an exclamation point on his introduction to the upper ranks of the heavyweight division.
-Nolan can be reached at email@example.com or @undercardnolan.